Townsend residents will be asked to increase property taxes to pay for road repair project

Residents welcome to vote on pavement plan, new charter and marijuana sales tax

The Townsend Board of Selectmen
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TOWNSEND – A variety of town projects and bylaws will be up for vote at a special town meeting set for Tuesday, Jan. 21, including a $5 million-plus debt exemption to repair town roads.

The Board of Selectmen finalized and approved the warrant for the meeting on Monday night.

The board made only one change to the draft warrant containing 21 articles. That change was to Article 15, involving a vote to authorize the board to enter into one or more net metering credit purchase agreements with owners of solar panels. The board moved to change the period of those agreements from 30 years to 20 years.

Some of the other articles involve town finances, including transferring or raising available funds in the treasury to pay bills of the prior fiscal year, fund the retirement/separation agreement between the town and departing Police Chief Richard Bailey and supplement personnel services and the director of the Townsend Public Library for the 2020 fiscal year.

Other articles involving appropriating and borrowing available funds in the treasury include restoring the plaques at the front of Memorial Hall and funding the capital stabilization account for the 2021 fiscal year.

The largest financial article on the warrant is Article 13 involving a debt exclusion asking for permission to borrow $5.1 million that would fund a town-wide pavement management plan.

Annual town meeting approved the plan last year, but it was rejected at the ballot box. If approved by town meeting voters later this month, it will again go to the voters during town elections in the spring.

According to the warrant, homes assessed at $250,000 would see a projected quarterly tax increase of $36.95. The program was first presented publicly at a Board of Selectmen meeting on Apr. 18 last year.

Another financial article on the warrant is Article 17 that would impose a three percent local sales tax on the sale of recreational marijuana at a marijuana retailer in town. Residents took no action on banning recreational marijuana facilities at the annual town meeting last May.

Other articles would allow for the replacement of the Townsend Home Rule Charter first adopted in 1999 with a new charter; create a Recycling Committee;and give selectmen and the Police Department  more authority to deal with parking violations.

The last day for residents to register to vote at the meeting is Jan. 10 at the town clerk’s office from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Town meeting will be held at Memorial Hall.